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Chippewa County Board turns down damage claim by family of dead teen

CHIPPEWA FALLS - The Chippewa County Board has become the second body to reject a damage claim by the family of a teen who died in a rope-swinging accident off a cliff.

Supervisors voted unanimously last night to turn down a claim by the survivors of 16-year-old Justin Buss. The family now has six months to decide if it wants to file a lawsuit. Justin died July 26th after he swung on a rope off the top of a cliff over Paint Creek - and he slammed against the cliff before drowning.

The town of Lafayette rejected the Buss family's damage claim in November. Town chairman Dave Staber said his community was not legally responsible. He has said that crews kept removing ropes from trees before the fatal mishap, but they always re-appeared. And before then, he said the town couldn't do anything because the state DNR had declared the land as public access for a nearby neighborhood.

But after Justin's death, Staber said the DNR finally agreed to let the town take down the trees. And they set up barricades, so divers could no longer get a running start to the edge of the cliff.